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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change

on 20 July 1999
I am a therapist, specializing in work with children and women in crisis. Deerskin is one of the books I use in therapy with girls and women who have been sexually abused by their fathers. The women and girls get a sense that they are not alone and things will get better. Sometimes it takes several readings but it works. I don't feel that the story really bogs down all that much. In her new persona, our heroine has to learn how to give and recieve love that is healthy and helps her to become a whole person. I strongly recommend this book because not only do I think its a good theraputic tool but its also a good read.
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on 25 June 2015
I did enjoy this book but folk need to make sure and read the reviews and synopsis of the story. This book is about incest and how one girl deals with it and conquers it. i read somewhere that it was used as a tool to help abuse victims. I would not know about that myself. I feel that the book is to above and beyond reality to help abuse victims. Abuse victims have to live and conquer in the real world. Apart from that the book is a good read but be warned of it's content when giving it to younger folk
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on 15 March 2017
The book read out like an old folklore, It was completely absorbing. I enjoyed the duality of the characters with their thought and what might be. A very interesting and moral tale.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 September 2015
Bought this on recommendation but, sadly, it did not work for me. I found the prose style too 'dreamy' and convoluted.
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on 28 April 2017
Always good reading from this author.
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on 22 December 2003
I just wanted to warn readers who enjoyed McKinley's other books, that this is much more disturbing than any of her other novels.
It contains unpleasant scenes of a sexual nature which younger readers wopuld be likely to find disturbing - at 24 i found them disturbing! So be aware of this if you read it.
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on 13 March 2017
Don't come at this one unwarned. The fairy-tale writing style of this book completely fails to prepare the reader for the horrific content, which wasn't present in Perrault's original fairy tale (Donkeyskin, on which this is based). In the fairy tale, the king feels incestuous attraction to his daughter. In McKinley's retelling, he violently acts on it and leaves her injured and pregnant (she later miscarries, alone, with no medical help). The fact that this is coyly alluded to in the same fairytale tone of voice makes it worse, in a way, than if it were graphic.

With some warning I might have approached this book as a tale of recovery from abuse of the worst kind, but I was fooled by having read other books by the same author and thinking I knew the source material.

It isn't entirely perfect even as a rape recovery story, because it ends not only with the victim confronting her abuser and proving he has no power over her, but with a contrived supernatural punishment on top of that. Unfortunately none of us is able to lay low past abusers using goddess powers. I felt this detracted from the theme, even if it was satisfying.

In summary, if you come at this expecting more typical McKinley YA fantasy, or a retelling of a fairy tale with added dogs, be warned. Although the dogs are present, and good, and healing.
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on 2 January 2008
Whether you love this book or hate it you wont be able to deny that it touched you in some way. Whether it made you cry, made you feel ill, laugh or smile there is no doubt that you'll remember it.

Deerskin is one of those unforgettable books. Not just because the characters are so well written that they feel real to you. Or because the subject matter is totally repelant to you. You may remember it for these reason but you are more likely to remember how both these things fit so well together and really made it an experience.

Deerskin is not for the faint hearted, it is graphic and disturbing in places but has many moments of normality which make everything that happens bearable. I am not a person who enjoys angst or horror but neither am i easily disgusted but i must admit that i love this book as well as loathe it. Or at least i dislike immensely the events inside it. It is not pleasant reading. If that is what you want a beautifully renderred fairytale then look elsewhere. For though you will find beautiful writing, believable characters and a good story, you will not find a tale about a hero slaying a dragon and saving the princess.

No in this book its the princesses own job to save herself. The other thing that makes this book stand out is the portrayal of the relationships in the book. I.e. Lissars relationship with her parents, the prince but most importantly with her dog Ash. For it is that relationship that ultimately saves her in the end.

No one can accurately sum up this book. You will either devour every page as i did hoping for a happy ending for the heroine. Or you will close it and will likely not pick it up again.

Again no matter which way you go, you will remember this. And that is one of the marks of a great book whether you like the direction the story goes or not.
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on 25 March 2008
I was a little wary of the book even as it arrived on my doorstep. I had decided, not very long ago, that it was a book that I was going to "need" to read. I knew it wasn't always going to be wonderful, but I felt that it would be rewarding in the end. It was.
Here is a true heroine, someone who it is possible to look upon in wonder. How many wispy, misfit adventuress heroines glaze the pages of modern fantasy and how many of them have really gone through something as horrific as Lissar has and survived? This is a wonderful book. McKinley's prose is exquisite and her sense of character is perfect. Never once does she linger on a point, and her treatment of the subject matter is both sensitive and reassuring - you are, in short, in the hands of a master storyteller. Lissar's journey is gritty, heavy and awful, and yet there is never too much despair or pity, and above all - it is not crippling. This is a journey of healing and hope - always there is hope. An essential read.
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on 25 February 1999
Having read many of the other reviews, I feel the need to respond to them first. I agree that this is not a children's story (although I read it as a young teenager, and feel that many, perhaps most teenagers could handle it quite well). I also recognize that it deals with some of the darker sides of life. However, I personally enjoyed that; I get tired of reading about happy, cheerful stories or great traumas that are instantly healed. It was good to get a look at a rather painful issue, and in a way that did not gloss over it or make light of it.
I have always appreciated the ways in which Robin McKinley can describe her characters and settings so realistically and yet so magically. I felt that she did an especially good job here. Lissar is a realistic character. Like many other victims of abuse, she doesn't know how to escape or what to do (to the person who complained that she took so long to leave, I would like to point out that in a situation where she has never been allowed to be a strong individual, where her father has complete and total authority over her, and where her world has been completely torn apart in the last two days, her shock and numbness are understandable). For quite awhile she manages only to survive. Yet in the end she comes to peace with her past and is able to move on. This comes with the help of many of her friends, but it is also a tribute to the amazing strength that she has in herself, strengh inherited from her mother but used to totally different ends. She is another in the long, noble line of Robin McKinley heroines who begin as timid, thinking little of themselves, yet discover amazing depths of strength to help those around them. She has her faults, and makes bad decisions, but ultimately she manages to come to grips with her past. She seems a believable character. Ash and Ossin especially are also believable, and have an amazing depth of personality and development (especially Ash, who doubles as someone who would willingly sacrfice anything for her friend, and as a humorous character who brings a bit of levity to the book). Having known many people who have endured similar hells, and having been given the privilege of being to help support some of them in their healing, this book really rang true for me. It echoed what my abused friends had said, and many of the responses of Ossin and Ash echoed what I myself had felt.
This book also has many different levels. The only way that I've found to understand them is to read it, reread it, and so on, over and over again. This is one of those books where each time I read it I discover something new. I had the chance to analyze this book for a class I took, and it was one of the best academic experiences of my life. I highly recommend this book to anyone willing to openly and honestly deal with some of the tougher issues in life.
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